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Wolmer’s on the brink of Manning Cup semis

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Photo: Jaheel Hyde of Wolmer's explodes past Ricardo Phipps of Haile Selassie in their second round clash in the ISSA/LIME Manning Cup. Hyde scored the second goal in his team's 4-0 win.

Wolmer’s Boys school scored a comprehensive 4-0 win over upstarts Haile Selassie in the second round of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup competition on Wednesday at the Spanish Town Prison Oval to take pole position in Group H. They are now on six points having already beaten Calabar in their first game of this round and need only a draw in their final game against St. Georges College to advance.
The drubbing of Haile Selassie comes hot on the heels of their impressive win over St. Georges College in the LIME Super Cup last weekend.

The boys from Heroes Circle got off to a quick start when Joshua McNaught headed them in front after just eight minutes. Rajay Smith delivered a free kick into the box from the left side and McNaught reacted quickest to score with a glancing header past a leaden footed Chevaun Bennett in the Haile Selassie goal.

Wolmers danger man Jaheel Hyde threatened his opponent’s goal in the 15th minute when he fired a shot just wide of the upright from 20 yards.

Haile Selassie was struggling to get out of their half, while the Wolmers midfield bossed the game completely. Smith in particular was finding lots of space in the middle of the park, combining well with Hyde down the left flank to create chances almost at will.

Despite their possession and the number of chances they created Wolmer’s failed to add to their lead until the three minutes before the interval. A pass into the middle of the box, was met by Hyde with a sweetly timed volley that flashed past Bennett and into the back of the net as the Ludlow Bernard coached team led 2-0 at the break.
Wolmer’s had an even quicker start to the second half than they did in the first, when Khori Bennett delivered a cross to the near post for the hard working Smith to head home in the 49th minute.

The second half was almost a replica of the first with Wolmer’s dominating and Selassie doing as best as they could to resist their bigger, stronger opponents. Haile Selassie playmaker Julian Lewis was trying his best to get things going on the offensive end but had very little support from his teammates.

The same two players that combined for goal number three were responsible for the final goal of the afternoon with Smith turning provider on this occasion. The midfielder slipped in Bennett behind the Haile Selassie defence and the forward calmly side footed home goal number four in the 68th minute.

Not surprisingly Wolmer’s eased their foot off the pedal somewhat, with the game already won. Bernard took the opportunity to pull Hyde and a few other key players. The changes added impetus to the Wolmer’s attack once more and with 82 minutes on the clock Hakeem Smith went on a driving run down the right flank and squared for Bennett but the cross was cut out just in time by the goal keeper.

Tragedy struck three minutes from time when Haile Selassie defender Omari Grant fell awkwardly and sustained a broken hand. He received preliminary treatment on the field before being taken to the Spanish Town hospital.
The final whistle after four minutes of stoppage time signalled the end of a good run for the Michael Williams coached Haile Selassie team that was reaching the second round for the first time in the school’s history. Their opponents on the other hand are front runners for a semi-final spot.

Wolmers coach Ludlow Bernard said, “We did exactly what we wanted to do. We got the early goal and then we were able to control the tempo of the game. When we got enough goals we were able to pull a few players so they could get some rest because we have a few big games coming up.”

“I thought we came out very tentative because we were playing against Wolmers which is a good team, but we tried to play in patches. It is the first time we are playing in the second round and I think it got the better of them…a lack of experience really cost us today,” Michael Williams, head coach of Haile Selassie said.